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Principal Financial Well-Being Index

What is the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM (WBI)?

A deep dive into the financial well-being of U.S. employers and employees. The research provides helpful insight into key workplace and employment trends in the small to midsize business marketplace through a steady cadence of surveys with new and recurring themes. WBI also compares employer sentiment with that of employees, offering a holistic perspective.

These insights help employers identify and implement solutions that position their business, their employees, and themselves to achieve greater financial security.

Full report cover image

Latest findings

Expectations around how and when to retire by generation vary greatly – placing increased focus on employee engagement and personalized investment strategies to help improve financial security and retirement readiness.

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Business financial health

Businesses continue to navigate tough economic conditions and have demonstrated steady growth through recent events.

Businesses who describe themselves as growing (%)

All
Small businesses
Large businesses
Line chart comparing small and large business financial health between June 2020 - June 2023

Employee benefits

Employers recognize the need to support their employees through workplace benefits. Top benefits employers plan to increase include training and education, mental health programs, and flexible schedules.

Employee benefit to change in next 12 months

Increase
Decrease
No change
Training and educational opportunities
Bar graph displaying 46% increase, 10% decrease, 45% no change
Flexible schedules/time
Bar graph displaying 44% increase, 10% decrease, 46% no change
Mental health/well-being programs
Bar graph displaying 42% increase, 10% decrease, 49% no change
Health care benefits
Bar graph displaying 40% increase, 8% decrease, 52% no change
Option to work remotely
Bar graph displaying 36% increase, 23% decrease, 52% no change
Retirement benefits
Bar graph displaying 34% increase, 8% decrease, 58% no change
Vacation time
Bar graph displaying 34% increase, 9% decrease, 58% no change
Financial wellness programs
Bar graph displaying 33% increase, 9% decrease, 59% no change
Telehealth services
Bar graph displaying 33% increase, 9% decrease, 59% no change
Paid family or medical leave
Bar graph displaying 33% increase, 8% decrease, 59% no change
Dental/vision insurance
Bar graph displaying 32% increase, 6% decrease, 62% no change
Employee retirement contribution match
Bar graph displaying 31% increase, 6% decrease, 63% no change
4-day workweeks
Bar graph displaying 30% increase, 12% decrease, 59% no change
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Bar graph displaying 29% increase, 8% decrease, 63% no change
Long-term care insurance
Bar graph displaying 29% increase, 8% decrease, 63% no change
Life insurance
Bar graph displaying 28% increase, 8% decrease, 65% no change
Caregiving benefits
Bar graph displaying 28% increase, 9% decrease, 63% no change
Disability insurance (short or long term)
Bar graph displaying 27% increase, 7% decrease, 66% no change
Childcare support
Bar graph displaying 27% increase, 9% decrease, 64% no change
Critical illness/accident insurance
Bar graph displaying 26% increase, 10% decrease, 64% no change
Alternative retirement investment options
Bar graph displaying 26% increase, 9% decrease, 65% no change
Emergency savings programs
Bar graph displaying 24% increase, 10% decrease, 66% no change
Employee student debt payoff assistance
Bar graph displaying 21% increase, 12% decrease, 67% no change
Paid sabbaticals
Bar graph displaying 21% increase, 12% decrease, 67% no change
Pet insurance
Bar graph displaying 13% increase, 13% decrease, 74% no change

What’s next?

Ensure your business can grow in the long term by offering benefits that matter. Principal can help design a benefits package that's just right for employers and their employees.

Check out our benefit design tool

Key takeaways

Pie chart conveying 74%

74% of Gen Z employees say it’s important for them to work at a company whose policies and practices align with their personal beliefs.(1) Read: 5 business practices and work perks that matter to Gen Z employees

Pie chart conveying 69%

69% of businesses say it’s their responsibility to help employees save for retirement.(1) Read: Retirement benefits for $0? What SECURE 2.0 means for businesses

Pie chart conveying 46%

46% of businesses using small retail banks are concerned about the safety of their bank deposits.(2) Read: Business reactions to bank failures—and 3 ways to help mitigate risk

Pie chart conveying 36%

36% of businesses are planning to increase mental health and well-being programs.(3) Read: Burnout culture is out. Workplace mental health is in. 3 ways businesses can promote employee well-being

Methodology

The WBI is recurring research used to track sentiment around repeated financial health measures and timely issues relevant to small and midsize businesses and their employees. Business owners, decision makers, and business leader participants who represent companies with between 2 to 10,000 employees and offer health insurance and/or retirement benefits (n=500) provide information by completing a 15 minute online survey. Research is also conducted with an employee audience of those 18 and older who are employed full time and have an employer who offers health insurance and/or retirement as a sponsored benefit (n=200). Access to sample is provided by Dynata, a third-party research panel provider.

The WBI was transformed in 2020 from an annual survey to a regular pulse survey offering three waves yearly. In March 2022, the employee audience was added to the survey to compare and contrast key sentiment from employers.

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